Jobs Parents Had in High School
There might be ophthalmic calisthenics (serious eye-rolling) in response to your description of how you had to sweep the floor and stack 12 cases of pop bottles every night before you left your high school part-time job, but try to ignore them. See if you and your spouse can generate a Monty Python like contest as to “who had it worse?” Kids love this sort of thing.
Because parents universally experience kids being much more careful with money they earn, than with money they are given, figuring out even smaller in-house ways the teens in your life can earn some money this summer, is probably a meaningful exercise. If a child is old enough to want something that costs hundreds of dollars, which many teens do, they are old enough to help figure out how to pay for it.
Working during the school year was a much more common occurrence in prior generations. And summer jobs used to be able to pay for a much more significant portion of the cost of a post-secondary education. As selecting and applying to post-secondary programs grew into a job in and of itself, students arguably had less time to scoop ice-cream, sweep floors, or lifeguard. And it has to be said that opportunities to do that sort of work are not as prevalent as they once were. But the impact of never really earning even your own spending money before leaving high school can be seen in the unprecedented levels of student debt that now plague young adults. Some student debt is absolutely attributable to lifestyle choices – that may never have been made if kids had been denominating the cost of an item in terms of the hours they worked to be able to pay for it.
So when you and your now captive teen audience are trying to figure out how everyone is going to get through a summer without the prospect of a job, or crowded beaches, or even summer school, how about figuring out what sort of in-house minimum wage might be appropriate for them to earn… if they paint the bathroom, look after dinner Monday to Thursday, look after lunch for younger siblings, or some yard work, or laundry…Just imagine the stories they will have to tell their kids in the spring of 2050.
Hang onto hope everyone. Lets get through this thing, if nothing else, with money-smarter kids.
If you are interested in how children research the full value of a request or purchase (before they make it) at one of our in-classroom workshops, please click on the Green or Pink Buttons below. Of course, they can also do this at home!